Tahu counts cost of anti-racism stance - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Tahu counts cost of anti-racism stance

By David Beniuk 22/06/2010 06:56:30 PM Comments (0)

Timana Tahu admits his anti-racism stance has come at a personal cost, but has refused to use it as an excuse for losing his cool in Monday night's fiery NRL loss to Newcastle.

Tahu will miss four matches, and State of Origin III, when he enters an early guilty plea to the serious charge of a grade three reckless high tackle on Wednesday for the swinging arm which collected Knights winger James McManus at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

The trip to Newcastle - the former club of both Tahu and former NSW assistant coach Andrew Johns - was the Parramatta centre's first match since he walked out of the Blues' Origin II camp in protest over racist remarks made by Johns.

Tahu said he had tried to put the drama of the past 10 days out of his mind as he prepared for the game, which also featured NSW and Knights captain Kurt Gidley, but conceded it had been a tough period.

"That was something I had to clear from my head because it was a big week and the stance I'm taking, it does take a toll on you and it's taken a toll on my family as well," Tahu told reporters on Tuesday.

"I've had sleepless nights and it's been draining but coming back to training with the boys, it's been good because I got to have fun again and they lightened my day up a little bit."

The Eels indicated late on Tuesday that Tahu would not fight the charge after CEO Paul Osborne had consulted renowned judiciary lawyer Geoff Bellew.

"It was a pretty high shot and he knows that he probably made a mistake and he's very disappointed in himself as we are," Osborne said.

Despite the personal toll, Tahu is adamant his crusade to rub out racism will continue, saying he has a wider agenda than just the NRL.

"I think it's a fight I've got to have and it has to be addressed to the nation and not just to the NRL that you've got to take a stance on racism," he said.

"The line's been drawn in the sand and you either be on the side where you don't condone racism or you're an ignorant person.

"I've got to take this (stance) not only for me but for the next generation of kids that will be coming through the NRL and for the future of Australia."

Tahu said he had received support from a wide range of ethnic groups.

"Not only just the indigenous players, all sorts of cultures, like Lebanese, European, Asian, Italian, everyone," he said.

"This is what Australia's built on, we do live in a multicultural place and I feel like I'm getting support from everyone which is making me feel that I need to take this stand.

"We're in 2010 now and if we don't address this then the world's going to leave us behind."

He said he had not been sledged by Knights players and denied the fiery on-field behaviour which saw him sinbinned on Monday night had eventuated because he was up against his former club, which some past players have claimed had had a racist culture.

"It was a big week in the build-up to the game, but it didn't really matter if it was Newcastle or not," he said.

"That's the way I play, I'm an aggressive player.

"I did the same thing in Origin I, it's the way I've been playing all year."

He will meet the NRL's Indigenous Council and representatives of the Human Rights Commission on Thursday before speaking with Johns again for mediation.

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